This Day in Horror History: Stephen King’s MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE Was Released in 1986
While Stephen King holds a world record as the author with the most cinematic adaptations of his literary works, he’s only stepped behind the camera to direct one of them. If you’re wondering why you probably never saw the end result! Maximum Overdrive was released on this day in 1986.
Of course we all love Stephen King, and we take no pleasure in pointing our his shortcomings, but even he agrees Maximum Overdrive was a disaster! Of course, the film has become something of a cult classic in the decades since its release. So if it’s been a while, or if you’ve never experienced the glorious misfire that is Maximum Overdrive, check out the trailer and synopsis below.
After a comet causes a radiation storm on Earth, machines come to life and turn against their makers. Holed up in a North Carolina truck stop, a group of survivors must fend for themselves against a mass of homicidal trucks. A diner cook, Bill Robinson (Emilio Estevez), emerges as the unlikely leader of the pack, attempting to find an escape plan for himself and the survivors, who include his boss, Bubba Hendershot (Pat Hingle), and a newlywed couple.
When asked why he hasn’t directed a movie since Maximum Overdrive, Stephen King responded “Just watch Maximum Overdrive.” Being a former cocaine addict, he later admitted that he was “coked out of my mind” the entire time he was making this picture and often didn’t know what he was doing. He remarked that he’d like to try directing again someday, this time sober. (Source)
About a year after the movie was released, the Green Goblin truck was taken to Silent Rick’s Towing and Salvage in Wilmington, NC. The jaw, lower teeth, tongue and tops of the ears were gone and what was left was burnt severely. John Allison of Wilmington, NC saw it there and purchased it. He later had to sell it and Tim Shockey of Piketon, Ohio purchased it on February 19, 1987. Tim displayed it in his video store, Uncle Jim’s Videoland, in Waverly, Ohio for several years until he sold the business. He moved it to his back yard for about 20 years. It was then moved into his garage and he started restoring it in 2011. Tim spent 2 years, nights and weekends restoring the head. He now travels across the USA and Canada taking it to horror & comic cons. (Source)
The original scripted ending had the Dixie Boy survivors deal with one last obstacle before escaping, a machine gun mounted coast guard boat. There was also to be one last shot of the city of Wilmington being destroyed by the machines (rumored to have been done via a matte painting). (Source)